Cast & Crew
In Scotland, in 1751, young David Balfour, recently orphaned, heads to his ancestral home to see his uncle Ebenezer, who lives in the remote, half-completed house near Edinburgh. When David arrives there, late one night, he hands his uncle a sealed letter from his father, who told him to deliver it upon his death. In the letter, which David does not see, his father reminds Ebenezer that David is heir to the Balfour lands and estates and asks him to introduce the lad to lawyer Rankeillor. After David tells Ebenezer that he had not known that he had an uncle until his father died, Ebenezer gives David the key to the tower bedroom in the uncompleted wing, expecting him to fall to his death in the dark, and is surprised when he reappears. David reads his father's letter and accuses Ebenezer of trying to murder him in order to claim his inheritance. Ebenezer explains that he and David's father were once rivals for the same woman, David's mother, and that to settle the dispute, David's father claimed the woman, while Ebenezer got the estates to keep until his brother died and his son, if he had one, came to claim them.
The next morning, on their way to meet the lawyer, they stop at an inn, where Ebenezer arranges with a sea captain, Hoseason, to have David shanghaied and sold as a slave in the Carolinas. One night, in a thick fog, a small boat comes alongside the ship and Alan Breck jumps on board. Alan, a Scot rebelling against the English, had hoped to escape on a French ship, which failed to arrive, and offers Hoseason gold to take him to France. However, the captain refuses and says he will put him ashore in Scotland. Although David was reared as a supporter of King George II, when he hears Hoseason and first mate Shuan plotting to take Alan's gold, he warns him and together they fight off the captain and crew. David saves Alan's life and, pursued by the captain, jumps overboard. The ship founders and some of the crew reach land but Alan is missing. David is found by two of Alan's Jacobite friends. One, an innkeeper, discovers that "The Red Fox", the King's tax collector, has taken all his money. The next day, on his way back to Edinburgh, David encounters "The Red Fox" and his soldiers, but while they are talking, the Englishman is shot and killed by a sniper. David runs off and is suspected of being the assassin's accomplice. David meets up again with Alan and pledges allegiance to him and the Scottish cause, and later, rewards are offered for their capture. When David meets Aileen Fairlie, an innkeeper's daughter, she warns him that the king's soldiers are looking for someone matching his description and hides him in a barn when soldiers approach the inn. Aileen's father offers to find David and Alan a boat in which to cross a loch but goes, instead, to inform the English of their whereabouts. Aileen, however, finds a boat and leaves with them.
Once back on land, David and Alan have a dispute about David's family's allegiance and Alan goes on alone. Aileen and David then arrive at Dunblane Inn, where they pose as sister and brother, unaware that Hoseason is in the same inn. After Hoseason threatens to turn him over to the English, David offers him a share of his inheritance, but the captain refuses, preferring to find Alan who is worth more to him. Hoseason and David engage in a swordfight, and Alan returns to help him against the captain's men who have joined in. Again the trio escapes, and later, David promises Aileen that he will send her to the finest girls' school in Edinburgh and will help Alan escape to France. When they finally reach Edinburgh, Alan and David contact the lawyer and go to see Ebenezer. After Hoseason offers to kill David for Ebenezer, for a price, Alan tricks Ebenezer into telling him that he paid Hoseason to kidnap David. Rankeillor hears Ebenezer's confession, and Ebenezer then becomes involved in a swordfight with Hoseason, whom he thinks has double-crossed him. Both men fall to their deaths from a staircase. Alan embarks for France, leaving David and Aileen together.
Ray Boltz Jr
W. Scott Darling
Leonard W. Herman
Edward J. Kay
The film's main title reads: "Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped." Hollywood Reporter production charts add Alex Gerry to the cast, but his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. The principal exterior locations were shot on Santa Catalina Island, CA. A Los Angeles Times news item of May 8, 1948 indicated that James Cagney's historic-looking, three-mast boat, The Swift, would be featured in the film. Other films based on Stevenson's novel include a 1938 Twentieth Century-Fox production, directed by Alfred Werker and starring Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2279); a 1960 Walt Disney production, directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Peter Finch and James MacArthur; a 1971 American International Pictures release directed by Delbert Mann and starring Michael Caine and Lawrence Douglas; and a 1995 television movie starring Armand Assante and Brian McCardie.